Other giants in the sharing economy are going public in 2019.
Airbnb, the hospitality company, has hired Dave Stephenson to be their new Chief Financial Officer (CFO) who will take the reins in January 2019. Bringing in this seasoned executive from Amazon and Big Fish Games might be a step towards preparing an initial public offering (IPO). Stephenson replaces Ellie Mertz who in turn replaced the last CFO, Laurence Tosi, who departed from the company in February. Tosi—who had previously been with Blackstone Group—had been expected to take the company public. While Tosi helped the company’s bottom line, he apparently was not in sync with CEO Brian Chesky. At the time Tosi was let go, Chesky said Airbnb would not be going public in 2018.
Stephenson ended his 17-year tenure at Amazon to join Airbnb. Chesky said in a company statement that ”Dave is one of the best financial operators in the world and there’s no one better prepared to serve as our CFO. I’m proud of everything we’ve achieved, but Airbnb is just getting started. In the years ahead, Dave will be Airbnb’s quarterback for long-term growth, driving us to be even more efficient and leverage what makes Airbnb unique to create new businesses and continue to expand.”
Airbnb was founded in San Francisco in 2008 and now has 31 offices around the world. It offers listings in 191 countries and its total number of listings—over 5 million—"is higher than the top five major hotel brands combined,” according to a study written by Harvard Business School assistant professor Chiara Farronato and postdoctoral fellow at the Initiative on the Digital Economy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Andrey Fradkin.
Other companies in the sharing economy are moving ahead with IPO plans. On Dec. 6, 2018, Lyft announced that it submitted a draft registration on Form S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for a proposed IPO. Uber—which, like, Airbnb is now global—is planning an IPO in 2019.
Perhaps Airbnb will follow suit.